Wajir Members of County Assembly (MCAs) yesterday sought to place ousted Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud and his family at the centre of a corruption web that has not only looted the devolved unit, but has made it dysfunctional.
In a memorandum, the MCAs told the Senate committee probing the governor’s impeachment detailed corruption practices involving his wife, Kheira Omar, his children and a local businessman.
They accused Omar of acting like the de facto county boss, receiving kickbacks from contractors and suppliers and engaging in procurement irregularities.
The governor’s children, Yusuf Mohamed Abdi, Farhiya Mohammed Abdi and businessman Osman Abdi Jimale coowns tens of companies that trade with the county government.
Since assuming office in August 2017, Mahamud’s administration has paid Jimale and his firms a sum of Sh305 million.
The MCAs, through the Diff Ward Rep Bare Ahmed claimed that sometime in mid-October 2017, the governor instructed contractors engaged by the county for various projects to get in touch with his wife for purposes of making cash payments to her.
“The operations were that these contractors would be paid money by the county, once they receive the funds, a portion would be required to be paid to Omar,” Ahmed alleged.
For instance, he cited that on October 9, 11 and 27, 2017, a sum of Sh6 million, Sh2.6 million and 4.6 million respectively were deposited in her account ending with ……….7550. “I verily believe that these were monies paid in hard cash to Omar as a kick-back for securing tenders.” Diff Ward MCA further alleged.
He explained that some companies that were seeking to be awarded tenders were first required to make cash deposits into the wife’s account to secure them.
“The directors of these respective companies would deposit monies into her accounts for purposes of their companies being selected,” he said.
The MCAs claimed that Osman Abdi Jimale, an associate of the governor, owns at least 10 companies that transacts and is awarded Ward Reps give detailed trail of monies they claim were wired into the governor’s wife’s accountstenders by the county government.
They alleged that on November 11, 2017, Jimale deposited Sh1 million into the governor’s wife bank account.
Further on December 18, 2017, Mr Omar Abdullahi, whom the MCAs describe as influential businessman, deposited Sh9 million into Omar’s bank account. “Mr Omar Abdullahi is a director of one of the many companies who have been awarded tenders by the Wajir County Government,” the memorandum says.
The MCAs claimed that Abdirazak Issa, an errand boy for the governor’s wife collects 10 per cent payments from suppliers.
“Once collected, he hands the same in cash or deposits to her account.” Issa is also a director of the companies namely: Ajwa Constructions Limited, Blue Valley Investments Limited, Triple Issa Investments Limited and Sabahu Construction Limited. Between December 2018 and November 2019, Issa deposited to Omar’s account a total of Sh4.9 million.
“I am also aware that the aforementioned companies associated with Abdirazak Issa have been paid a number of times Sh110 million. It is thus questionable as to why there is any direct association between Omar and Issa.”
However, in defence, the governor dismissed as unsubstantiated the MCAs allegations. He said his impeachment is politically motivated and urged the committee to dismiss it. “The charges leveled against me as the Governor, Wajir County, are unsubstantiated, and cannot stand the scrutiny and threshold required for the impeachment of a Governor,” he told the committee chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni.
“Wajir County under my leadership has seen tremendous progress in basic social services with improvements in key performance indicators as can be witnessed from the County Statistics,” he added, saying that he will fully cooperate with the committee and help to establish the truth.
“In the fullness of time, my lawyers will establish through tendering of evidence the circumstances that informed and influenced the impeachment,” he said
“We will take you through the budget and accounting process, and show you the governor is an opaque system that has no accountability but defined by impunity and immunity from reach of the law,” the lawyer said.
“The governor must be taken out of the political equation in Wajir. The evidence is overwhelming. The facts speak for themselves,” Abdullahi said.
Committee, however, declined a request by the Assembly to summon the governor’s kin to testify in the case.